THERE have been a number of protests outside Glasgow letting agents over rent increases due to a “loophole” in legislation.

The demonstrations began because of the experiences of Living Rent members Jen Bell and Angus Wilson. Bell has encountered two rent hikes since April with the latest increase being 11.5% after her flatmate moved out.

Under current legislation, when one tenant moves out of a flatshare any remaining tenants are forced to end the collective tenancy agreement too. 

For tenants that want to remain in the property, landlords are able to offer the tenants a new agreement and in doing so increase the rent for the remaining tenants.

Bell said: “We agreed to a 3% increase back in April with the understanding that the rent wouldn’t be increased again for another 12 months. Now our landlord is exploiting this loophole in the rent cap and going back on his word. It’s completely unacceptable.”

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Similarly, Wilson a tenant of Northwood faced a 20% increase under similar circumstances leading him to contemplate leaving Glasgow altogether because of his rent going from £750 up to £900.

The National: Angus Wilson, Living Rent member and one of the affected tenantsAngus Wilson, Living Rent member and one of the affected tenants (Image: Living Rent)

Wilson said: “Over the two years I've lived here I've grown very attached to my home. It's been one of the first places I've felt safe and happy in. 

“I am devastated about my increase as there is no way I can afford a rental increase that amounted to over £120 a month. That I can be priced out of my home just because my flatmate was moving out is heartbreaking."

It has impacted his performance at work, due to the toll on his mental health.

He added: “[It’s] all because of my landlord's desire to make more money. There was an opportunity to make a quick buck, and they took it to hell with the person who lives in the flat. I now no longer can afford to live in my home of two years, and can no longer afford to live in the city I've lived in for 11 years.”

The six-month rent freeze was brought in by the Scottish Government in September 2022 as a response to the cost of living crisis and landlords increasing rent over the previous six months.

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The rent freeze in the privately rented sector was renewed in January 2023 to extend to September 2023 with the rent cap increased from 0% to 3%, this was then renewed again to last until March 2024. The Government halted the freeze for the social rented sector saying that social housing providers had agreed to keep rent increases to an average of 6.1%. 

The eviction moratorium has been extended until March 2024.

Living Rent said that these cases reflect the experience of thousands of tenants across Scotland as landlords attempt to find ways to hike rents despite the rent cap. 

Aditi Jehangir, secretary of Living Rent said: “Landlords are complaining that tenants are getting too much power – but this is clearly not the reality. Landlords are still forcing tenants out of their homes by pushing up already unaffordable rents to sky-high levels.”